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Latest F1 news in brief
  • Twilight races here to stay - Ecclestone
  • Barrichello eyes few more shots at F1 title
  • Liuzzi hopes test seat leads to F1 race role
  • Spain to be wrong medicine for BMW - Lauda
  • Villeneuve to launch own driving school
  • Piquet denies too much pressure from Renault
  • Officials seek go-ahead for Hamilton tribute
  • Donington back on track with racing license

Twilight races here to stay - Ecclestone
(GMM)  The concerns of organizers and drivers aside, Bernie Ecclestone insists F1's controversial new 'twilight' start-time concept has been a success.

In Australia and Malaysia this season, the green light was delayed until 5pm local to better serve the bulk European live audience.

In Melbourne, drivers complained about the light conditions, while a week later in Malaysia torrential evening rain left no time for a delayed race re-start.

But to the Independent newspaper, F1's chief executive said the twilight concept is here to stay.

"All our TV up to now has been up 300 per cent," said Ecclestone.  "We have been getting more than 50 per cent of the market share."

The concept was a compromise in the face of expensive floodlighting, however Ecclestone told the newspaper that Sepang is now to join Singapore as a night race.

Barrichello eyes few more shots at F1 title
(GMM)  Rubens Barrichello does not accept that 2009 is his last chance to become world champion.

The veteran Brazilian readily acknowledges that his career hung in the balance last winter, as he waited for confirmation of the rescue of the former Honda team and to know if he would be Jenson Button's Brawn teammate.

But even though after a record 275 grands prix he is a tantalizing 12 points from the top of the drivers' championship, 36-year-old Barrichello refuses to admit that 2009 is his final real shot at the title.

"Who knows," he told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport, "perhaps I will drive for another two, three years.

"In my life I have always thought positively and I am convinced that this attitude is what put me where I am."

Button has already won three times in the sister Mercedes-powered BGP001, but Barrichello said he does not feel psychologically defeated.

"Motor racing is not like tennis," he insisted.  "It's not like you're in the third set having lost two (sets) 6:0.  I know from the last three years that I can drive as fast as Jenson."

Liuzzi hopes test seat leads to F1 race role
(GMM)  Vitantonio Liuzzi has admitted he accepted a two-year role as Force India test driver because of the prospect of a 2010 race seat.

The 27-year-old Italian recently returned to race action in the A1GP series, but admitted to the Speedweek publication that his hopes are high for a formula one drive next year.

He told an Italian magazine last month that while Giancarlo Fisichella and Adrian Sutil's contracts are expiring, he already has a Force India agreement through to 2011.

"My best chance is with Force India," he told Speedweek.  "It is the reason I was happy with the role as the test and spare driver for two years.

"There are certain prospects for a place as the main driver," Liuzzi revealed.

Spain to be wrong medicine for BMW - Lauda
(GMM)  For teams struggling aerodynamically in 2009, the Circuit de Catalunya this weekend is unlikely to offer the right medicine.

After finishing fourth recently in Bahrain, McLaren's Lewis Hamilton admitted that the Barcelona curves "won't suit our car so well".

The same may also be true for struggling BMW-Sauber, despite the Swiss based team pinning its hopes on a major Spanish grand prix car upgrade.

"Barcelona is the track that most mercilessly uncovers aerodynamic weaknesses," German-language analyst and former triple world champion Niki Lauda told Sport Bild.

"I fear that BMW's problems will be even bigger there and that they will be even further behind," the great Austrian added.

Lauda also believes an improvement even in the medium-term for the Hinwil based team is unlikely.

"Getting out of this sort of situation is extremely difficult," he said.  "If you're at the back, you have to develop twice as quickly and twice as well as the teams that are at the front.

"McLaren and Ferrari have the same problem: needing to make two steps while the top teams make only one.  If they can't do that as soon as possible, the season (for them) is over," Lauda added.

Villeneuve to launch own driving school
(GMM)  Jacques Villeneuve will be involved in his very own racing driver school, it has been announced.

The 1997 world champion said the Jacques Villeneuve Academy is in collaboration with the ICAR organization in Montreal.

"My goal is to transmit my passion for racing and to increase the quality of experience for all the racing fans from around the world, whether they are beginners or experienced professionals," said the 38-year-old former winner of 11 grands prix.

Piquet denies too much pressure from Renault
(GMM)  Nelson Piquet has denied that he feels pressure rather than support from his Renault team.

Speculation has surrounded the Brazilian's future in formula one, causing his famous father to remark that the French team needs to give him "cover" and not public criticism.

But Piquet Jr insists: "I don't think the team is putting too much pressure on me.

"If anything I am putting pressure on myself because I am so determined to do well and help the team," he told Eurosport.  "I have no doubts about the support of the whole team and I get on well with everyone."

Father Nelson Piquet Snr, the winner of 23 grands prix and three drivers' world championships, has been at every race so far in 2009.

"We don't really talk about driving, but it's good to have his advice and support as he has a lot of experience in motorsport," Piquet Jr admits.

Having scored 19 points compared to teammate Fernando Alonso's 61 in 2008, Piquet admitted he is keen to open his 2009 tally soon.

"It's not really a psychological issue but it's important that I start scoring points to help the team in the constructors' championship," he said.

Officials seek go-ahead for Hamilton tribute
(GMM)  Organizers of the Spanish grand prix are waiting for McLaren's go-ahead before pressing on with plans for a ceremony this week to honor Lewis Hamilton.

As is traditional at the Circuit de Catalunya, world champions are honored with an entry along the 'Avenue of Champions' access road.

Race organizers want Hamilton, 24, to attend, but the local sports daily Marca said McLaren has not been able to confirm whether McLaren has authorized the Friday unveiling.

The event is tentatively scheduled to take place after Friday's two practice sessions.

Last year during winter testing at the track, a group of fans triggered an international racism scandal by blacking out their faces and verbally abusing the McLaren driver.

Donington back on track with racing license
(GMM)  Racing at embattled Donington Park is back on track, after the 2010 British grand prix venue recently lost its license.

The UK governing body Motor Sport Association rescinded the credential because F1 renovations at Donington reduced run-off at a high-speed section.

But track boss Simon Gillett said at the weekend that planned revisions at the circuit will be inspected formally on Thursday, thus reinstating planned events including the British Touring Car Championship race later this month.

"We are bending over backwards to ensure safe racing is on track at Donington Park as quickly as possible," he is quoted as saying by the Derby Telegraph.

Meanwhile, a track spokesman said the issue was never related to the plans for the formula one race.

"Work for the grand prix in July 2010 has always been on schedule," he insisted.

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